Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I Am Woman. Hear Me Talk (And Talk And Talk)

There's a great new website called Scripts & (admit it, you love it already), and for reasons best known to them, they decided to interview me. They offered me the option of doing the interview on Skype, but the problem with doing an interview on Skype is your house has to be clean, and as you know I'm a tad behind on the housecleaning business. So I said I'd rather do it on the phone, and that is why the podcast lacks a view of my frantically trying to dust and vacuum while chatting merrily about my career. So if you're interested in hearing me chat merrily about my career, scurry over to the Susan Beth Pfeffer page and listen away! PS (and on a different subject) Blogspot has decided it hates Internet Explorer and will only let me post on Google Chrome. For some reason, Google Chrome doesn't seem to understand paragraphing, or editing, or any other other things I was accustomed to on Blogspot. This does not make me a happy person.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Coming in February 2013, The Taschenbuch of Die Welt Wie Wir Sie Kannten!

I was killing time waiting for The Voice to go on, so I went over to Amazon to see how my titles were doing.

Imagine my surprise when I saw that Die Welt Etc. (aka Life As We Knew It, which I find considerably easier to type) is scheduled to be a Taschenbuch this February.

Not knowing what a Taschenbuch was, I made my merry way over to Google Translates Everything For You Just Because We Love You, and typed in Taschenbuch. Imagine my surprise when I found out a Taschenbuch is a klasika!

It turns out I'd left the translate to to Lithuanian.

No fool I, I changed the translate to to English (my kind of language) and discovered that a Taschenbuch is a paperback (I keep typing Taschenbuch as Taschenbuck, obviously reflecting my hope the paperback will bring me a few bucks). My guess is a klasika is a paperback in Lithuanian, but The Voice is about go to start, so I'll look into that possibility some other time.

Meanwhile, I have a whole new reason to look forward to February. Happy Taschebuch Day everyone (and a Merry Klasika too)!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Just A Quick Note To Say There Won't Be A Cholera Epidemic

And will all those anonymous characters who were going to die in a particularly unpleasant way thank me? I think not.

I was set to write the big cholera epidemic scene today, having done just enough research that I could fake it. But I woke up this morning at 6:30* and I thought about the cholera epidemic and how complicated it was going to be, not so much because of all the dead bodies (I'm used to those) but because of how the disease might spread into places I didn't want it spread into, so I decided against it.**

Scooter didn't even wake me up. I did it all on my own, sad to say.

Instead of the cholera epidemic, I killed off a main character (just like I promised) in an unusually (even by my standards) grisly and unpleasant way. All of which I thought of at 6:30, give or take.

I have things I have to do tomorrow, but absolutely nothing planned for Tuesday and Wednesday, so I'm hoping to finish the first draft before I go to Washington DC on Friday (please don't break into my apartment while I'm gone, and if you do, please don't take Scooter, not that he'd let you, and I have to take him to the vet for his annual checkup and I can't tell you how little I'm looking forward to that). Then I'm going to spring clean my apartment, which trust me it needs, and then do the rewrites, which trust me, it needs. With or without a cholera epidemic!

*Actually not 6:30, even though that's what the clock said. I have one of those atomic perfect time clocks, except this one runs slow. It was probably 6:38, and I suppose I could have said "around 6:30" but I didn't think of it in time, and besides having one of those atomic perfect time clocks that doesn't keep anything close to perfect time is something to complain about. And if you didn't want to hear me complain, you didn't have to read this footnote.

**It doesn't count as a spoiler when you say something isn't going to happen. So don't even think about complaining. I do all the complaining around here, thank you very much.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The View From Page 140

I got back to work yesterday, and will get back to work today after I play a few more hands of FreeCell.

Better that than go through a few more boxes of tissues.

I'm pleased to say that on Page 140 (practically Page 141, since most of Page 140 is written) the only dead characters are unnamed extras. My guess is that by Page 150, quite a number of those unnamed characters will never have a chance to be named. I'm sure if they existed their families would know who they were. Unless I killed off their families as well.

Once I start killing off unnamed characters, it's hard for me to stop.

One of the bi-products of lying in bed and sneezing is that I have time to think about the as yet unwritten pages and what might happen in them. For the most part I know what's coming (and who's going), but that doesn't prevent my brain from thinking things out even more. The other morning I woke up at 5 AM with a scene on my mind, and although I'm sure I fell back asleep, all I seem to have dreamed was that scene, so maybe I didn't fall back asleep at all.

During an in bed sneezing stretch, I was thinking about who was going to live and who was going to die, and suddenly I considered the possibility of killing off one of the named characters on the list to the right. Someone who I'd never considered killing off. Someone people might actually be upset about if I killed off that someone.

The super great advantage of killing off that character is it would allow me to write a scene where things got explained with even a touch of resolution. Well, emotional resolution. I'm not great at story resolution, because if I were, I wouldn't be trying for the umpteenth time to write a fourth moon book just to answer all those unresolved questions from the first three.

But a little emotional resolution would be nice. Even if people got upset. I mean, for all I know, people are going to get upset over all those lovely unnamed corpses I have littering Pages 138-40 and beyond.

My plan is to work work work, and then work some more, and try to get the first draft finished before I go to Washington D.C. next weekend. Since I know just about everything that's going to happen, finishing should be doable. And then I'll know who lives and who dies and what their names are and I won't have to think about it anymore.

Of course the alternative is to play some more FreeCell. Thanks to the wonders of cheating, my winning streak is pushing 900.

Hmm... Do I aim for 1000 or do I kill off some more characters? What a jolly dilemma to have!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

On Page 133, The Only One Close To Death Is The Author

i.e. Me.

Or I.E. me.

Take your pick.

Usually when I write about something looking sweet and innocent, but actually cruel and vicious, I'm referring to Scooter.

But not this time.

No, it's spring, the most glorious season of the year, that has done me in.

Thanks to my hearty peasant blood, I never suffer from allergies. But this season, after an incredibly mild winter followed by an incredibly hot spring, my aristocratic sensitive blood has taken over.

When I'm not sneezing, I'm blowing my nose. When I'm not blowing my nose, my eyes are weeping. Actually my eyes are simultaneously extremely wet and painfully dry. Even indoors, sunlight hurts.

I really would be working on The Shade Of The Moon Take Three, but it's hard to type when you're wearing a sleep mask. And blowing your nose. And sneezing.

I do intend to get back to writing. As soon as this
starts looking like this, I'll return to the manuscript, and find out who lives and who dies.

I hope I'll be in the who lives category!

Friday, April 13, 2012

I'm On Page 103 (I Checked) And Not A Single Character Is Dead Yet

But who knows what'll happen on Page 104.

My thanks to all of you who participated in the Who's Gonna Be Dead Meat poll on the right. Poor Mom seems most likely to be a goner (sadly, in my mind as well).

I put in the "new character" option almost as an afterthought, and until Scooter woke me up this morning, I hadn't really considered knocking off any of the new ones. Scooter's been doing a very good job waking me up the past few mornings. He's been holding off until about 6:45, and then he gets into full snuggle mode. For the week or so before this, he's been waking me up while in full attack mode, and I can't concentrate on anything if I'm throwing him off the bed, in a desperate effort to keep from being viciously mauled.

What can I tell you? He thinks it's fun.

But when Scooter snuggles, and it's too late for me to fall back asleep, I can get a lot of work done. The other day I came up with a semi-brand new ending (basically the already planned action, but an entirely different response to it), and sort of worked out a particular plot problem (I'm still pondering that one).

And this morning, as I thought about a very big scene in the fairly near future, things got worse and worse (you know how much I love worse and worse) and two new characters ended up dead.

It makes sense. Why should new characters get a bye just because they're new?

I'd like to say I've found a great writing pattern, but I haven't. Now that I think about it, I only worked this week on Wednesday. I had thought I would on Thursday, but I discovered I had a dentist appointment at 1:00. Just a cleaning, so I planned on returning to work with sparkling teeth for most of the afternoon.

Only my dentist decided to go mining for decay, and I'm still recovering from the drilling. I couldn't do anything after I got home except quiver and gobble aspirins.

Today I've recovered (although a couple of aspirins isn't a bad idea), but it's the Yankee home opener, and I don't want to miss a single moment of the opening ceremonies. I think I'll watch those and maybe an inning or two, and then try to get back to work. I'm not going to be working on Monday (I'm having lunch with a friend) and Tuesday morning is devoted to mother stuff, and it's getting to the point where the only time I'm writing is on weekends, and I'm really deeply opposed to writing on weekends.

My current estimated time of completion is after the 2nd USA Science And Engineering Festival and before the 7th Annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival.

Assuming Scooter lets me sleep and I don't get any more teeth drilled!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Report From Page 70 (Give Or Take)

I'm too lazy to check if I'm on page 70 or 71 or whatever in The Shade Of The Moon. But I'm pretty sure I'm around there somewhere.

I'm taking today and tomorrow off from writing. I visited my mother this morning and I have a meeting of my good deeds organization in about an hour. Originally I planned on doing some writing after the meeting, but I worked last night instead.

Tomorrow I'm having lunch with a friend, and then we're going to see the movie Footnote (which is not the same as the movie Footloose, although they're probably related on their mothers' side). I can hardly be expected to work on a day where I'm having lunch with a friend and going to a movie.

Because Footnote is about Talmudic scholars (as opposed to Footloose, where there's nary a Talmudic scholar in sight, although it's a well known fact that Talmudic scholars can dance up a storm), I decided to google my grandfather, Rabbi Pfeffer the Talmudic scholar. Rabbi Pfeffer was dead long before I was born, which is why I call him Rabbi Pfeffer (as do some of my cousins, who also didn't know him).

Google was very excited when I googled Rabbi Pfeffer. Indeed, I googled in Alter Saul Pfeffer, and they asked me if I'd prefer Alter Shaul instead. So after I Alter Sauled, I Alter Shauled for a bit.

Oh, this is why he was named Alter Saul. Maybe it was him, or maybe it was an ancestor of his (my father didn't know), but some Saul in the family was very ill, and to fool the Angel Of Death, they added an Alter to his name. As a result, I have quite a number of cousins named Arthur (and one named Arnold), as opposed to cousins named Saul (my brother, Alan, was named for my mother's uncle Abe, in case you were wondering).

Anyway, there were a few Alter Saul Pfeffer entries and a few Alter Shaul Pfeffer entries, including, which claims Rabbi Pfeffer and Mrs. Rabbi Pfeffer (I didn't know her either) had 18 children, which would be enough to get them a reality TV series, except to the best of my knowledge they had 10 (9 of whom lived). Many of those unknown and probably unreal Pfeffer babies, thought were named Private. Not even Alter Private.

The favorite thing I discovered by way of Google was that three of my grandfather's letters were auctioned over the years. This one is my personal favorite because it has his signature. At least I assume that's his signature. Don't ask me what the rest of the letter says, because the only part I understand is the letterhead.

I think it's very cool that my grandfather Rabbi Pfeffer is a collectible.

I've also been following the poll results, over on the right side. I think it's pretty funny none of you think everyone will live. Granted, I don't think everyone will live either (they're all alive on Page 70 give or take, but that doesn't mean they'll stay that way), but a little optimism is always in good taste.

Oh well. Maybe I should change all my characters' names- Alter Miranda and Alter Alex and Alter Mom.

That'll fool the Angel Of Death!

Friday, April 6, 2012

To Sleep, Perchance To Plot

I'm back at work on The Shade Of The Moon, having written eight pages yesterday, and only intending to delete five of them.

Some scenes seem to make a lot of sense when you create them, and then make no sense at all when you write them.

Sadly, it turns out I do my best plotting while I'm lying still in bed, and even more sadly, since I do my writing in the afternoon, my lying still in bed time seems to come at night, when I'd much rather be sleeping. I mean a whole lot much rather.

Last night/this morning (all one giant blur of sleeplessness), I came up with a terrific confrontation scene. I mean super duper incredibly powerful terrific confrontation scene. It came from a scene I already intended to write, and at 2 in the morning, it made sense to make that original scene bigger and more powerful and, well, more confrontational.

Alas, at 6:45 this morning, when Scooter woke me, I realized the fabulous confrontational scene wouldn't fit in the scene I intended to plop it into. So now, I have this amazing confrontational scene, and no place to put it. And I lost several highly desirable hours of sleep to boot.

Somewhere around 1:30 AM, I came up with a fun poll to put up on the ever more crowded right side of the blog. I decided that I should wait until this morning, just in case the poll idea might prove really really dumb once the sun was shining.

But when has dumb ever stopped me? Lookit- there's the poll.->

I hope it entertains you during this holiday season. And I hope while I clean my apartment (next on my to do list), I can figure out where my fabulous confrontation scene can go.

Happy holidays everyone!